Final, Red Sox 6-5: This series just got a lot more interesting.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled home Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Red Sox have evened up the ALCS with an incredible come-from-behind victory in Game 2.
The Tigers held a 5-0 lead at one point Sunday. The Red Sox were held hitless for 5 2/3 innings, and it looked like the Tigers were well on their way to gaining a 2-0 edge in the best-of-seven series. David Ortiz changed everything in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, and Ortiz tied the game with a grand slam into the Boston bullpen. Torii Hunter almost made a sensational grab on Ortiz’s lined shot, but the ball sailed just over his glove. Hunter, who was racing after the ball at full speed, ended up tumbling into the Red Sox’ bullpen while trying to make the grab.
Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning, and Gomes opened the bottom of the ninth with a ground ball to the left side. Jose Iglesias fielded it while ranging into the hole and tried to deliver an off-balance throw to first. Gomes dived in safely as the ball sailed past first baseman Prince Fielder. Gomes was awarded second base, as the ball ended up in the camera well.
Saltalamacchia dug in and was almost retired on popout in foul territory. Fielder ranged over near the seats, and the ball clanked off his glove, giving Saltalamacchia another life. Salty took advantage of it by delivering the game-winning hit into left field.
The series now shifts to Detroit tied at a game apiece. John Lackey and Justin Verlander will square off in Game 3 of what just became a very intriguing ALCS.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, 5-5: Koji was Koji in the ninth inning.
Koji Uehara worked a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning. The Red Sox will now come up with the score tied as they look to walk off with a win in Game 2.
Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew are due up for Boston.
Rick Porcello will be the new Tigers pitcher.
End 8th, 5-5: Incredible.
David Ortiz ripped Joaquin Benoit’s first pitch into the Red Sox’ bullpen for a game-tying grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning.
Boston’s eighth-inning rally began with a one-out double by Will Middlebrooks, and it escalated when Jacoby Ellsbury worked a six-pitch walk against lefty Drew Smyly.
Shane Victorino struck out swinging for the second out, but Dustin Pedroia kept the inning alive with a single into right field. Middlebrooks took a hard turn around third base before wisely tossing on the brakes.
Ortiz wasted no time once Jim Leyland turned to his closer. Big Papi hit a line drive that sailed just over Torii Hunter’s glove and into the Red Sox’ bullpen. Hunter actually ended up in the bullpen, too, as the 38-year-old went full speed after Ortiz’s lined shot.
Mike Napoli pinch hit for Mike Carp and struck out to end the inning. He’ll stay in the game as the new first baseman. Koji Uehara will take over on the mound.
11:22 p.m., Tigers 5-1: Get ready for the at-bat of the ballgame.
David Ortiz will face Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning. Ortiz represents the tying run.
11:15 p.m., Tigers 5-1: The Red Sox have something brewing with one out in the eighth inning.
Drew Smyly walked Jacoby Ellsbury on six pitches, and Jim Leyland will make another pitching change. Detroit’s third pitcher of the inning is right-hander Al Alburquerque.
11:11 p.m., Tigers 5-1: Jose Veras needed just one pitch to retire Stephen Drew, who grounded to Jose Iglesias at short.
Will Middlebrooks doubled down the left field line, and Jim Leyland will call upon lefty Drew Smyly with Jacoby Ellsbury coming up.
Mid 8th, Tigers 5-1: The Tigers will indeed turn to their bullpen in the eighth inning. Jose Veras will take over after seven dominant innings from Max Scherzer.
Felix Doubront walked Alex Avila with two outs in the top of the eighth but ultimately kept Boston’s deficit at four runs. Omar Infante flied out to right field to end the inning.
Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury are due up for Boston in the eighth inning.
Jose Iglesias will enter the game for Detroit. He’ll replace Jhonny Peralta at short.
End 7th, Tigers 5-1: Max Scherzer received some hugs and handshakes in the Tigers’ dugout upon completing the seventh inning. His night is likely done, and what a performance it was for the Cy Young favorite.
Scherzer struck out Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes in the seventh inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded to second base to end the frame.
Scherzer, who has thrown 108 pitches, struck out 13 hitters in seven innings. He gave up one run on two hits.
Felix Doubront, who recorded the final out of the top of the seventh inning, will be back out for the eighth inning.
Mid 7th, Tigers 5-1: Felix Doubront got Prince Fielder to ground out to second base, and we’ll enter the seventh-inning stretch with the Tigers holding a four-run lead.
Brandon Workman retired Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera in the seventh before Doubront took over for the lefty-lefty matchup.
Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are due up for Boston in the bottom of the seventh.
10:41 p.m., Tigers 5-1: Felix Doubront will see his first action of the postseason.
Doubront is coming in to face Prince Fielder with two outs in the seventh inning.
End 6th, Tigers 5-1: Red Sox fans finally had something to cheer about in the sixth inning, even if it wasn’t anything major.
Shane Victorino broke up Max Scherzer’s no-hitter with two outs in the sixth. He smacked a single into left-center field.
Victorino took off for second base with Dustin Pedroia at the dish, and Pedey planted a fly ball off the left field wall. Victorino scored all the way from first base as Pedroia raced into second with a two-out RBI double.
David Ortiz struck out to end the inning, so Boston’s deficit still sits at four runs. But you’ve got to crawl before you can walk, right?
Brandon Workman will come back out for the seventh inning.
Mid 6th, Tigers 5-0: Brandon Workman walked Don Kelly but retired Austin Jackson on a ground ball to third base.
The Tigers have a 5-0 lead, but it might as well be a seven million-run lead. The Red Sox can’t even generate a hit, never mind five runs of offense against Max Scherzer.
Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila both went deep against Clay Buchholz in Detroit’s four-run sixth inning. Victor Martinez chipped in an RBI double.
Buchholz, who was cruising along at one point, exited after 5 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits while striking out six.
Buchholz threw 82 pitches, and many of his sixth-inning offerings were left up in the zone. That, obviously, doesn’t work when you’re facing the Tigers’ lineup.
10:16 p.m., Tigers 5-0: Clay Buchholz got knocked around in the sixth inning.
Miguel Cabrera made it 2-0 with a solo homer that landed in the left-most light tower atop the Green Monster.
Prince Fielder followed with a double off the Monster, and Victor Martinez knocked him in with a double into the right-center field gap.
Alex Avila extended Detroit’s lead to 5-0 with a two-run shot over the bullpens in right field.
Buchholz will now exit, and Brandon Workman will take over with two outs and Omar Infante on first base.
End 5th, Tigers 1-0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia hooked a high fly ball down the right field line that brought the Fenway Faithful to their feet. It was nothing more than a long out, though.
Max Scherzer struck out Jonny Gomes to begin the inning. Scherzer now has nine strikeouts, and Gomes has gone down twice.
Saltalamacchia then smacked one toward the right field corner. It looked like it had a chance to leave the yard as Torii Hunter ran toward the wall. Hunter eventually drifted back toward the field of play while making the catch, though.
The inning ended with Stephen Drew grounding out to the right side. Prince Fielder made the play and flipped to Scherzer to record the out.
Mid 5th, Tigers 1-0: Clay Buchholz — like Jon Lester in Game 1 — is keeping the Red Sox in this ballgame.
Buchholz tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Omar Infante, Don Kelly and Austin Jackson failed to get anything going against the right-hander.
Infante grounded to third, Kelly struck out and Jackson flied out to center.
End 4th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox’ offense has produced zero runs, one hit and 25 strikeouts over the last 13 innings.
David Ortiz walked on four pitches in the fourth inning of Game 2 after Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging. It didn’t matter, as Mike Carp grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Carp twisted his ankle while exiting the batter’s box, and the play at first base wasn’t close. He wouldn’t have beat it out either way, though.
Scherzer has eight strikeouts thus far, and the Red Sox are still searching for their first hit.
Mid 4th, Tigers 1-0: Stephen Drew helped the Tigers keep the fourth inning alive by way of an error. Clay Buchholz wasn’t ready to give up any more runs, though.
Buchholz started the fourth inning with an impressive feat. He struck out both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. The pitch that put away Fielder was nasty, as it tailed back over the inside corner.
Victor Martinez reached base when Buchholz’s 2-0 pitch barely grazed his jersey. V-Mart took second base on a wild pitch.
Jhonny Peralta, who has just been a total thorn in Boston’s side, hit what should have been an inning-ending groundout, but Drew couldn’t handle it.
Buchholz avoided any trouble by getting Alex Avila to fly out to center field.
End 3rd, Tigers 1-0: Did we see this game already?
The Red Sox’ offense still can’t hit its way out of a paper bag in Game 2. Max Scherzer walked Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs but also struck out the side to complete another scoreless inning.
Stephen Drew struck out looking, and Will Middlebrooks went down swinging before Ellsbury’s free pass. The soft-spoken Drew had some words for home plate umpire Rob Drake before returning to the dugout.
Scherzer ended the inning by striking out Shane Victorino. Victorino chased a curveball in the dirt.
The Red Sox don’t have a hit through three innings, and Scherzer already has seven strikeouts.
Mid 3rd, Tigers 1-0: We’ll see if a defensive play can swing momentum in Boston’s favor.
Dustin Pedroia made a sensational diving stop with one out in the third inning to rob Austin Jackson of a base hit. Jackson yanked a ground ball to the right side, and Pedroia laid out on the outfield grass before delivering an off-balance — yet strong — throw to first base for the out.
Clay Buchholz struck out Torii Hunter for the third out. Hunter has now struck out twice in this game.
End 2nd, Tigers 1-0: This game already has a familiar feel to it.
The Red Sox went down without a whisper in the second inning. Max Scherzer recorded two strikeouts in the frame, and both came looking.
Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes — two new additions to Sunday’s lineup — failed to offer at fastballs on the corner. Scherzer then retired Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a slow roller to second base.
Scherzer already has four K’s through two innings.
Mid 2nd, Tigers 1-0: The Tigers have struck first, although things could have been much worse if not for an inning-ending double play.
Victor Martinez doubled into the gap in left-center field after Prince Fielder struck out to begin the second inning. Martinez advanced to third base when Jhonny Peralta — Saturday’s offensive hero — ripped a single into left field.
Alex Avila opened the game’s scoring with a hot shot back up the middle. Clay Buchholz ducked out of the way as the line drive traveled into center field, allowing Martinez to trot home from third.
Omar Infante stepped up with runners at the corners and one out. He couldn’t add to Detroit’s run total, though. Infante bounced to short, where Stephen Drew, despite a bobble, started a big 6-4-3 double play.
End 1st, 0-0: The bottom of the first inning was pretty much the season in a nutshell. Max Scherzer was good, and Shane Victorino got hit by a pitch.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a chopper to third base that was handled easily by Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera has been hobbling around this postseason, but he took care of the leadoff ground ball just fine.
Scherzer then plunked Victorino, who continues to be a human target. Scherzer hit Victorino on the shoulder with the first pitch of the at-bat.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz struck out swinging to end the inning. Pedroia fanned on an 0-2 changeup, and Ortiz was tardy on a 2-2 fastball.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Nice start for Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz needed just nine pitches to work a 1-2-3 first inning. Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera went down in order.
Jackson grounded to short, Hunter struck out and Cabrera flied out to center field.
Hunter went fishing after a pitch in the dirt on his strikeout.
8:18 p.m.: Clay Buchholz missed outside with his first pitch. Game 2 has officially begun.
8:08 p.m.: The Red Sox are 13-16-1 all-time in the second game of a postseason series. They are 9-4-1 in such games at home.
Just some random info for you before game time.
8:04 p.m.: I absolutely hate the phrase “must win.” It’s overused, and for no good reason really.
Game 2 in a best-of-seven series can never be considered a “must win.” Ever. No matter what.
However, this game is important for the Red Sox. There’s no way Boston wants to fall down 2-0 in the series before heading to Detroit to face Justin Verlander in Game 3.
When asked about the Red Sox’ approach in Game 2, John Farrell made it clear that nothing has changed about Boston’s mindset.
“I think at this time of year there’s urgency to everything we do. That hasn’t changed, that’s why I made the point of what the mood is in this clubhouse,” Farrell said Sunday. “And it’s not about putting additional pressure on ourselves. It’s about being the team that we’ve been throughout the course of the year. And that has shown a strong ability to put yesterday and leave it there. And not worry about what Tuesday is going to bring when we face Verlander over in Detroit. But just to concentrate and focus on tonight. It goes back to first night in spring training. Tonight’s game is the most important thing to us.”
7:50 p.m.: Among Tigers hitters, Torii Hunter enters Game 2 with the most career at-bats against Clay Buchholz.
Below is a glimpse of how some Detroit boppers have fared versus Buchholz.
Miguel Cabrera: .238 (5-for-21), three RBIs
Prince Fielder: .167 (1-for-6)
Hunter: .167 (4-for-24)
Austin Jackson: .263 (5-for-19), one homer, one RBI
Jhonny Peralta: .294 (5-for-17), seven RBIs
7:34 p.m.: If you’re looking to make some predictions throughout Game 2 and the rest of the Red Sox’ playoff run, I suggest you check out Soxcaster.
7:16 p.m.: Max Scherzer has been good against pretty much everybody this season, but the Red Sox did defeat the right-hander at Fenway Park back on Sept. 3.
Below is a glimpse of how some Red Sox hitters have fared against Scherzer in the past.
David Ortiz: .467 average (7-for-15), three home runs, six RBIs
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: .417 average (5-for-12), one home run, two RBIs
Jacoby Ellsbury: .556 average (5-for-9), one home run, five RBIs
Dustin Pedroia: .235 average (4-for-17), two home runs, five RBIs.
6:59 p.m.: So what are the Red Sox’ chances of winning this series now that they’re down 1-0? Funny you should ask.
In 43 previous ALCS matchups, the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series 27 times (63 percent). The Game 1 loser has won seven of the last ALCS matchups, though.
Since the best-of-seven format was adopted in 1985, the team that has won Game 2 of the ALCS has advanced to the World Series 21 times in 27 series (78 percent).
6:35 p.m.: John Farrell, as expected, made some changes to his lineup for Game 2.
Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes have been inserted for Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava, respectively. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also returns to the starting lineup after David Ross got the start in Game 1.
Napoli is hitting just .125 (2-for-16) this postseason and is a career .077 hitter (1-for-13) against Max Scherzer. Carp is 2-for-8 in his career versus Scherzer.
Nava had the only hit in Boston’s Game 1 loss, but he’s just 1-for-9 in his career against Scherzer. Gomes is 2-for-6 against Detroit’s Game 2 starter.
Jim Leyland also made a couple of adjustments to his lineup. Jhonny Peralta, who started in left field Saturday, will move into the infield and play shortstop. Don Kelly will play left field, while Jose Iglesias will start the game on the bench.
The rest of Sunday’s Game 2 lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Clay Buchholz, RHP
Austin Jackson, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Alex Avila, C
Omar Infante, 2B
Don Kelly, LF
Max Scherzer, RHP
8 a.m. ET: The Tigers won Game 1 behind a superb performance by Anibal Sanchez and four relievers. Detroit now has Max Scherzer going in Game 2 and Justin Verlander waiting in the wings for Game 3.
For most teams, that would signify that the end is near. The Red Sox are unlike most teams, though, as Boston tends to play its best baseball when its back is against the wall.
The Red Sox’ backs certainly are against the wall. Scherzer won 21 games during the regular season and is the favorite to land this year’s Cy Young award, while Verlander, who is considered one of the best pitchers in baseball, hasn’t given up a run in 27 innings. It’s a difficult spot for Boston, especially given its poor offensive performance in Game 1.
“Resilient” is a key word that’s been attached to the Red Sox all season. Just when you think the Sox have been dealt a crushing blow, they manage to defy the odds and turn the tide in their favor. Clay Buchholz will look to spearhead another “resilient” effort Sunday, although it’s up to the offense to bounce back after posting a goose egg in Game 1.
Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. Be sure to keep it right here for updates throughout the day and into the night.